As a small business owner, I am asked for donations and to do pro-bono work from nonprofit organizations all the time. Many of these requests come from organizations working with people and families with great need. The problems with making donations to these organizations as they request them is that 1) how do I target my donations to organizations that are working on issues I really care about without offending anyone? and 2) how do I make sure that my donations are going to organizations that are doing a good job?
Here’s how. I work with small and start-up businesses to identify the issues that are most important to them and I provide guidelines for how to identify organizations that are really doing good with the money that is donated. We put those two together and you have an objective checklist for organizations soliciting donations. Ask everyone who requests a donation to your website where they complete a questionnaire. Those that don’t align with your priorities and or aren’t able to show that they’re doing good work, simply do not qualify. The objectivity of the process is helpful in keeping organizations from being offended.
I help you identify organizations that can partner with you to create mutually beneficial relationships. This is profoundly different from the traditional model where a nonprofit asks for a donation and you write a check. Instead, you work together as partners to make your customers into their donors and their donors into your customers. They key is picking the right partners.